Get Cooking...seriously!

Man oh man I haven't talked about my "story" in so long. Part of me just feels like it's boring or just too many words to read {now that I have kids, I'm such a picture person and pretty much ignore all text -- thank you Pinterest and Instagram}. 

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But I decided to sign on to be apart of Katie Den Ouden’s Skinny Dip Society Blog Tour. And so here I am, sharing my story once again but, this time, through a new lens, version two point oh if you will.

If you met me 10 years ago it would most likely have been at a natural food store or at a food show? I started a natural organic food company when I was 24 years young. I was quite a different person back then....

Raw Food Diet Ended My Immune System Disorders

My story was always the same: I cured my very serious immune system issues with a raw food diet {by accident}. Prior to that doctors tried to treat me with steroids but concurred that I would "never get rid of the issue" and will live with horrible health for the rest of my life! I was so young though and it seemed incredibly sad to live with all of these bad symptoms! About 1 year after finally accepting my fate, I picked up a beautiful raw food cook book at the bookstore by my house. The pictures were to die for - beautiful and fresh. It just drew me in. I bought it and challenged myself {for fun} to eat a diet full of this type of food for one week. 

I felt amazing after day 1. I slept well and had crazy mental clarity. After a few days I had so much energy and my skin felt like silk. By day 5 ALL OF MY Immune system issues disappeared {!!!} GONE! Yes, totally crazy. 

Needless to say, it was the most eye opening experience of my life. I felt like a miracle had happened but knew that wasn't the case. But how did it all happen? What was to thank for this wonderful transformation? Was it the gluten or the dairy that I eliminated? Was it the abundance of nutrients I was consuming? Or the lack of food coloring, sulfites, additives, meat, preservatives, etc? How come Doctors didn't tell me this? How come they never mentioned my diet? How did this happen in just 5 days? The list goes on and on. It was NOT placebo or coincidence, I can tell you that, because each time I fell of the wagon, some symptoms would return. 

I needed to learn more. I read book after book, met with specialist after specialist, went to raw food parties, met like minded people, heard awesome health stories, and THEN I decided to turn my passion into a business - a business that would maybe, just maybe, help transform somebody else's state of health. Was I naive? Was I just passionate and stupid and young? I don't know. But I lived in a wonderful bubble for years. I was surrounded by like-minded people and got to witness people transform their lives just like I did. Never did I have anybody judge or say much of anything negative. 

Well, time passed and I was still feeling amazing and free and clear of my health issues, BUT I was growing up, maturing, experiencing other relationships, people, kids, parents, life lessons, and new journeys. Some for the better, some for the worse {which is actually also better - more lessons to learn}. But I learned a ton.

So Many Diets. So Many Debates.

After years and years and years of being in the organic {vegan} food industry and apart of this growing community of health foodies, I've learned that we all have our own ways of eating. And we all will justify and find research to back up our eating habits. Whether we are paleo, low carb, high carb, vegan, raw vegan, fast food loveer, etc., we all have our views on what foods we should or should not be eating. All of the people I have met who were as passionate as I was about food could agree that food helped them become free of feeling unhealthy and tired and lacking sleep or even free of disease; food changed their lives for the better. They had a life changing event as I had. 

So there is this deep desire to stand by whatever diet or way of eating helped us become free - and preach how it is the ONLY WAY TO EAT TO BE TRULY HEALTHY!  And when somebody questions something that is so dear to us, we can't help but defend. Right? I know so many people who have transformed their lives by going Paleo. I know others who only feel good eating 80/10/10 and they share their recipes with the world. They all think they are right; they are equally as happy and passionate about their ways of eating and living. 

More encouragement. Less judgement. 

Bottom line is, we all have a lot in common: we changed our lives for the better without medicine and by just getting rid of the gluten, dairy, or soy, etc. So I think it's important for us to encourage each other to stick with the diet that works for our individual bodies. 

If They Aren't Ready, They Won't Listen {and they don't really care}. 

My youthful passion hasn't changed, however: I {still} wish everybody would just change their diets over night and feel SO good like I did - It's the best feeling ever and truly magical. But my understanding of people HAS changed my ways. I now know that everybody has their own paths in life. Nobody truly cares about your story UNTIL or unless they themselves have a health issue or a personal life experience that inspires them to change. It's just how it works. You can't change somebody or force something onto somebody unless they are ready for change. Preaching on Facebook or sharing links all the time will probably just annoy most people. If they aren't ready, they won't listen and don't really care {but that doesn't mean you should stop sharing}. That's my biggest lesson. 

And for me, it's not worth the "preaching" or even the discussions at times. Because I'm not an expert. AND even the experts aren't experts; the so-called experts debate amongst themselves all the time. It's MY {your} food philosophy. My {your} path. A way that works for me {you}. I've seen 801010 persons go paleo and paleo turn vegan. I truly have. So, instead of judging and debating, being open-minded, less defensive and listening to others' stories and journeys is how to better ourselves {in all areas of life}. 

Less Packaged Foods. More Cooking In The Kitchen.

Moral of my story here is that one thing all of us can agree on is that consuming too much preserved, packaged and non-organic foods can cause health problems, environmental problems and not allowing us to feel our best. Eating loads and loads of fresh, organic produce will make your skin glow, mind clear and energy levels soar. 

Instead of pushing a raw food diet upon you today, I'm like to encourage and challenge you to get in the kitchen everyday this week. Make it a priority to not order out or eat out of a bag but instead to use health ingredients and make dinner. Make lunch. Make breakfast. If you have to get up a little earlier or work a little harder in the evening. DO IT. It's well worth it. 

Because I truly believe, after all these years, that no matter what diet we choose to follow, or what works for our individual bodies and families...GETTING IN THE KITCHEN AND COOKING FOR OUR LOVED ONES IS THE BEST THING WE CAN DO FOR OUR HEALTH, BODY AND SOULS. 

I'm going to leave you now with this wonderful message:

We need to rebuild a culture of cooking. it can't be woman's work, we got to get everybody back in the kitchen. The other most surprising thing I've learned is that if you cook - if you eat food cooked by a human, by a loved one - you don't have to worry about your diet; it takes care of itself. You won't eat crap; you won't make cream filled cakes everyday; it's too much work. You'll be eating real food. Home cooking is a guarantor of a healthy diet. We know in general that the poorer you are the worse your diet. But, not if you cook. The poor women that cook have a healthier diet than wealthy women who don't. Cooking is the key to health; not to mention the interesting flavors. I don't see cooking as drudgery anymore; i see it as alchemy. -- Michael Pollan 

This blog post is a part of Katie Den Ouden’s Skinny Dip Blog Tour. Read about other people's lifestyle choices and happiness by clicking on the links below. There are some fun health bloggers attached to this project who are full of great info.